Using technology frees up time to focus on real customer relationships and employee engagement.

Harnessed correctly, technology puts us all in a better position for success. And the cleaning industry is no exception.

Two decades ago, The Cleaning Authority created an innovative new management system, designed to foster better relationships with both employees and customers. Here are five proven ways that same innovation can work for you.

1. Stay Customer Focused

The Cleaning Authority’s system has always been a customer relationship management tool. We use everything from interactive voice response systems to allow more accurate clocking in and clocking out at cleans to a ‘real time’ status of where our cleaning teams are during the day. That matrix helps our owners be as efficient as possible.

In The Cleaning Authority’s system, owners can view details across their entire territory or even by a single zip code, allowing them the flexibility to schedule cleaning teams by geographic area, cleaning hours and more.

Our system allows owners to see things as detailed as cost per clean, and allows them the tools to make sure each team isn’t being overworked or underworked. Our system is designed to provide good decision making data, and all of that benefits the customer at the end of the day.

2. Adapt to Changing Platforms
When The Cleaning Authority switched to a web based platform in 1999, a lot of our vendors talked about the forward thinking we had in the systems we built. But, technology changes and we have to change with it. The biggest change now is in mobile technologies.

The Cleaning Authority’s mobile applications are among the most advanced in the industry, and include everything from electronic in-home estimates to web based customer portals. Customers can log-in and track everything from their cleaning history to upcoming appointments, redeem rewards balances and more. And, there’s a lot behind the scenes that benefits customers too. For example, we developed a system called iTeam that uses GPS location to help our teams clock-in and out of a clean. That helps our owners better track the service they’re providing.

3. Innovate, Then Integrate
When designing The Cleaning Authority’s system, we wanted to provide owners access to tools that boost both profitability and efficiency. We included things like credit card integration and payroll systems that are compatible with many popular vendors. We have owners that used to spend 3-4 hours per week on payroll alone. Now, it takes less than 30 minutes.

The Cleaning Authority has also created a customer relationship management application, designed to help owners track where their customers come from, whether it be by direct mail, word of mouth or referral.

4. Focus on Growth
As The Cleaning Authority grew, IT took on a bigger role. We’ve now built more than 60 different reporting tools into the system, from diagnostics and customer analysis to marketing  and profitability reports.

IT and digital support has propelled our growth more than almost anything else, and it’s because The Cleaning Authority has recognized it as a critical investment. Technology has become one of the three pillars of The Cleaning Authority, along with marketing tools and operational support, and we want that to continue to differentiate us in the future.

5. Keep Developing
The Cleaning Authority designed its first proprietary software system in the early 1990s on an old DOS platform. And, the system had its share of problems. But it also showed what was possible. Since then, the system has been redesigned twice, and a fourth iteration is set to launch next year.  

We’re integrating more quality management tools for our employees. We’re adding improved analytics for drip marketing, and including things like payroll vendor updates for the Affordable Care Act. We’re listening to our owners and our customers, and we’re ready to push the envelope on what is possible all over again.

Joel Strunk is Vice President of Information Technology at The Cleaning Authority, where he’s helped shape the brand’s proprietary software systems since 2000. His team’s work has helped put The Cleaning Authority on the cutting edge of new technologies that are helping to increase efficiency, customer retention and satisfaction.